Experimenting In the Windows
Thursday 19th November
To begin with we experimented with newspaper as a material and the different ways in which we could manipulate it in order to convey a message about the materials itself. By using a limited amount of materials i.e only newspaper, it pushed us to be creative with its uses. Also the restriction of material enabled us to have a more focused idea of its meaning, thus creating a greater impact. We began by creating still images in a square to illustrate a message. This forced us in to conveying a story within a single shot/image. By experimenting with still images initially it made me more of aware of the instant effect it has on a viewer.
We then brought the piece to life by adding movements. We depicted a figure reading the newspaper and tearing out pages that we then threw back at her (a video of us rehearsing this can be seen above). This illustrated the way we are selective as to what information we take in. I enjoyed creating a performance piece as I personally found it to create more energy into the previous still images which enhanced the meaning being expressed as well having a greater, and perhaps even more engaging, impact on the audience.
Next, as a large group, we experimented with movements with in the window itself. We all lined up across the window and listened to instructions from someone outside to tell us how to move. I found this exercise to be very important in guiding me with how to best use the space in order to create a bold and effective image to an audience. Moreover it taught me a lot on how to work with a group of a large scale in creating a performance.
Finally, we used our material (newspaper) as a way to move from one side of the window to the other whilst communicating a story. Moving our performance into the window really added to the atmosphere of the piece, as it enabled us, as a group, to experiment with creating stills among the action- like a window display. This added emphasis to certain movements.
First Blind Date Performance
Monday 23rd November
As a group we were given the title The Blind Date. It was important for us to be aware of how we communicate before we began creating a piece. According to Professor Mehrabian only 7% of our communication is verbal which is absolutely minuscule in comparison to the 93% of our communication that is non-verbal- 55% of which is body language and 38% of which is tone of voice. With this in mind it is obvious that physical movement is essential in our performance.
Using the title as a stimulant we decided on creating a story about a couple on a blind date in which one person is more interested in the other. To begin with we discussed many ideas as to what the two characters in our performance were like and decided that in order to convey the story line we had created their personalities would have to be completely opposite. Therefore we chose for one character to be kind and soft whilst the other was mean and sharp. We also thought about what the characters would be thinking, asking why don't they like each other and why are they on a blind date? During the creating process I found it essential to give the characters existence as it gave us a clearer understanding as to what images we wanted to set up in the window for the audience in order to convey what the story is.
We wanted to illustrate the subtext of the story using two other people to act alongside the natural scene. However their actions were much more larger and extreme in order to express the true feelings of the character. Their movements needed to be an extreme expression of emotion-almost cartoon like. Due to using exaggerated body language we were able to create a comic performance with over the top gestures. After doing our performance we were given some useful feedback to make sure that the actually movements of the subtext were different to the natural scene rather than it being exaggerated mimicking which we will bear in mind in our next performance.
Tuesday 24th November
On Tuesday we focused on pushing our first Blind Date performance idea further. To begin with, inspired by Tresstle theatre company, we decided to use masks for the characters playing the subtext in order to emphasise their body movements. They now have to rely entirely on their physical movements in order to convey the message of the piece. By using masks we found it to be a physical illustration of abstracting the character's personalities. However we wanted to further this idea by adding another layer in the form of costume. As you move down the window you see the fundamental characteristics of the characters Victoria and Norman be abstracted and broken down. The costumes clearly illustrate the contrast of character's i.e Victoria's is sharp, pointed and rigid where as Norman's is soft, round and squishy (this is also shown in the masks). Therefore we used contrasting materials to construct each costume. For Victoria's we used thick cardboard and painted in black, where as for Norman we used bright green felt and cotton buds. When building the costumes we had to ensure that they were easy to move in as well as being able to fit through the narrow space. Bearing in mind the feedback we were given the day before we needed to ensure our movements where not simply mimicking each other but that there was a clear difference. Moreover we agreed as a group to stagger the movement like a ripple using freeze frames and slow motion.
Blind Date Performance
Thursday 26th November
After performing our final piece I think their are many ways in which we could have improved our work. Firstly in my opinion I think the masks were a hindrance in the performance as they took away from the shocking impact of the costumes as it cluttered the stage with images that weren't clear and concise. I also thought that they actually made it less clear that they were the subtext for the natural characters. Secondly I thought the natural scene in the center lost its overall effect by miming certain objects as it took away from the abstract quality of the other performers by not being entirely real. However, overall I was very pleased with our final performance as we created a bold and colourful window display that was fun and comical despite it's moments of stillness.